Paul Street Satirizes Glen Greenwald & AOC ; )


Frequently a contributor to Black Agenda Report, Paul’s new book is The Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement. These are excerpts from his recent column at counterpunch.org. It’s wide-ranging and longish, but I’ll focus on Part I:

“AOC’s Revolutionary and Subversive Socialist Gown”

Glenn Greenwald’s latest Substack essay shows how it is possible to be bright, seemingly progressive, stupid, and stealthily reactionary all at one and the same time – a common affliction of petit-bourgeois intellectuals who’ve never had a proper Marxist education.

Greenwald is referring, of course, to the recent kerfuffle about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing an expensive designer gown emblazoned with the phrase “Tax the Rich” at a pricey fundraiser (the “Met Gala”) for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.” [...]

Now if only her gown had been emblazoned with the command to “Eat the Rich” instead...  ; )

“While radicals of the Left have long aligned themselves with the call for progressive taxation (the imposition of a disproportionate tax burden on those with high incomes and wealth), “tax the rich” is by no means a “revolutionary” and “socialist” demand. It’s a reformist call for enhanced equity that has long been advanced by corporate liberals seeking to preserve and stabilize the bourgeois order. Anyone familiar with elementary Marxist thought and writing and American history should know this. Progressive tax advocates Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were not fans and allies of Marx, Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, and Eugene Debs.”

Later he quotes AOC’s statement after the Met Gala: “When we talk about supporting working families and when we talk about having a fair tax code, oftentimes this conversation is happening among working- and middle-class people. I think it’s time we bring all classes into the conversation.”

Paul Street on Twitter

p.s. I'll add that Libertarians Greenwald ('Citizens United was fairly decided')and Snowden have long named Julian Assange 'The Bad Whisleblower' (pffffttt)

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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go after each other. I suppose it's healthy and keeps most of them on their toes, but only the ones who are outside the mainstream, where there is some semblance of self reflection and change possible.

I think Glenn Greenwald steps in it here and there, but I like most of his writing, enough to have subscribed to his substack.

I also visit The Black Agenda Report quite often.

I don't see how AOC's gown is going to bring more classes into the conversation because the people who need to be part of that conversation are not reading or watching or following AOC.... they are too busy trying to survive.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

wendy davis's picture

@Fishtroller 02

as when a pretend marxist (greenwald if you read street's whole exposé) tries to posture that AOC IS an anti-capitalist with her "Let the elites at the gala become part of the working families' conversation'.

street IS a marxist. oh, no, AOC has become so popular as an 'upstart DSA' by how that she's the new EF Hutton: "when she speaks, people stop and listen!" i can't remember how many virtue-signaling tweets and faked photo-ops she's been called out about.

the 'woman of the people' also has three residences, and a driver and a car at her beck and call.

thanks for reading and commenting, Fishtroller.

p.s. greenwald can kiss my grits. and i say that in the kindest way possible. ; )

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@wendy davis

On Marxism.... when I first looked into the philosophies of Marxism, I saw some ideas that I felt were interesting and maybe even viable. But as an atheist, my radar goes up any time someone proposes that they have the true path to the perfect society or world or a kind of utopia. Marx was right about religion being the opiate of the masses, and yet Marxism became an opiate cult of its own. So the fact that Street is a true Marxist really doesn't get my interest up. I certainly don't put more weight on opinions offered by followers of Marxism any more than I would any other background philosophical credentials. I learned that the hard way by being a 40 year loyal democrat.

I remember many times arguing with religionists about atheism where they would drag out Stalin and Mao as being atheists and also being monster killers (point being that atheists have no morals). I would point out to them that these men were actually very religious because they saw themselves as gods and their followers were like the disciples. This is what happened to Marx.

There are no gods in the heavens, and the gods on earth are the ones we should particularly be wary of. We can try to make life better for people in the world, but when we talk utopias, I'm out.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

wendy davis's picture

@Fishtroller 02

Marxism, as well as cass's below. i know zip about it, but as a devout anti-capitalist i admire socialism, not of the DSA sort, and not necessarily of the 'control of the means of production' sort, but 'for the good of all' sort of egalitarian 'resources shared by all' sort that this Western Empire has been fighting against The Rebirth (decolonization) of the Pink Tides nations.

Stemming the Pink Tide in the global south ('our backyard') is monstrous to me, and AOC and her 'progressive' friends have been heavily involved with it, esp. re venezuela, and maybe ecuador.

the Western hegemon is determined to keep pink nations from determining their own governments, and self-determination seems to require and promote true democracy, i favor that.

heh, i remember andre vltchek (RIPower) noting that in its own way, iran is socialistic, whatver that may mean. thorny issues, indeed.

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@wendy davis

social systems or institutions, they are bound to screw it up.

I keep my eye on socialism and I've been reading books on the early farmers movements in the US in the 1800's which is pretty inspiring.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@wendy davis

social systems or institutions, they are bound to screw it up.

I keep my eye on socialism and I've been reading books on the early farmers movements in the US in the 1800's which is pretty inspiring.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@wendy davis

published it twice!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@wendy davis

I found this essay very close to what I see about Marxism.

https://quillette.com/2019/02/21/what-my-days-as-a-marxist-taught-me-abo...

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

CB's picture

Fortunately, many of AOC's most devoted socialist supporters stepped forth with passionate defenses of their leader. As they pointed out, AOC had painted onto the back of her pristine white gown — in perfectly proportioned and tastefully scrolled red ink highlighting the stunning virtues of the designer dress' silhouette -- a leftist phrase, Tax the Rich, that not only assaulted the Biden-supporting liberal celebrities in attendance but made them feel endangered in their own habitat, as if their wealth and privilege were being imperiled not from afar but from one of their own, from within. Far from being what AOC's dirty and petty critics tried to malign this as being — an attention-seeking, celebrity-building, branding opportunity in which AOC yet again lavished herself in the multi-pronged rewards of the very economic and cultural hierarchies she claims to despise and vows to combat -- she was actually engaged in a revolutionary and subversive act, injecting into aristocratic circles a beautifully artistic yet hostile message.

What an absolute crock of stinking bullshit. The lettering "painted onto the back of her pristine white gown — in perfectly proportioned and tastefully scrolled red ink" were custom made vinyl Peel n' Stick letters.

If you look closely at the following photo, you can see the letters being positioned. She can simply peel them off when she's finished and the dress will be like new. It puts the lie to the sycophants who hold her in thrall.

Here you see them properly positioned:

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@CB The text always looked off to me also. Too shiny and looking like it was sitting on the fabric rather than bonded like paint would. But hey. What should we expect? The dress designer is a tax deadbeat herself and is romantically involved with the heir to the Seagram empire. They double dated the ball with AOC and her beau. What a joke.

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Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.

wendy davis's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

What should we expect? The dress designer is a tax deadbeat herself and is romantically involved with the heir to the Seagram empire. They double dated the ball with AOC and her beau. What a joke.

side-slitting stuff; thanks.

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

but yes, her fame has spread so far and wide that some 'progressive sites' are touting her for Prez in 2024. Trump v. AOC? ; )

i see what you mean about the vinyl letters on her 'sleek satin, yet frothy' wedding gown, CB. she used to say that she buys all her duds in second hand stores.

so glad to hear she made them...so uncomfortable!

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CB's picture

@wendy davis
you linked to in your diary The Masking of the Servant Class: Ugly COVID Images From the Met Gala Are Now Commonplace

His obsequious fawning over AOC makes me want to gag...

...
This was not, contrary to the grievances of her small-minded and jealous critics, AOC reveling in one of Louis XVI's court festivities. Instead, she was storming the Bastille: not with weapons or fire but with the graceful designer elegance of the insurgent Marxist renegade, which made her presence all the more deceptively disruptive. While it may have appeared that Vogue's perfectly-coiffed red-carpet correspondents and other Met luminaries were gushing with admiration and awe at her bold fashion statement, they were actually shaking with fear over what AOC had wrought. They were quivering with rage and fear, not swooning with delight as it appeared.

Besides, as AOC herself put it with her trademarked class consciousness, the very fact that she can attend the Met Gala while you cannot is proof of the potency of the left-wing movement she leads. Standing next to Aurora James, the designer of her dress, AOC revealed the underlying clandestine strategy of her subversive attendance: “We really started having a conversation about what it means to be a working class woman of color at the Met ... we can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall.”
...

Greenwald has now sunk even lower in my estimation.

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

esp. given that my RAM is for shit, and my neuro-cognitive misfires have increased since trying to watch after watching a few of your China video interviews, then crashing (unconscious)for hours afterward.

but i DO remember street writing that GG had even used th term 'praxis' in hope of sounding more like revolutionary Marxis, lol.

GG and AOC: bottom feeders.

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Azazello's picture

... petit-bourgeois intellectuals who’ve never had a proper Marxist education.

Where do you get "a proper Marxist education", at some Marxist madrassa ?
They always think they're such intellectuals as they quote silly religious jargon from a holy scripture published in 1867.

The FOX News favorite, Tucker Carlson pal, and January 6th defender Greenwald ...

Street sounds like one of these shitlibs who gets pissed at leftists for going on Fox News.

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It didn't have to be this way.

wendy davis's picture

@Azazello

commenting. but i do remember you, amigo, shitting on every diary i've written, including my hopi rain dance memories enough that i'd finally unpublished it.

we seem to disagree on many fronts. 'and so it goes', as kurt vonnegut might say. ; )

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Azazello's picture

@wendy davis @wendy davis
Was that you who did the Hopi one?
I didn't realize that. It's not personal, really.
I've been on an anti-Marx thing for a year or so now.
Nothing to do with you at all.
I'm rethinking all kinds of stuff these days, like the whole 20th century.
I think it's part of the aging process.
I'll remember your name, Wendy Davis, and I'll try not to bother you again.

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It didn't have to be this way.

wendy davis's picture

@Azazello

object to was this:

Street sounds like one of these shitlibs who gets pissed at leftists for going on Fox News.

i only watch short clips of tucker, and am a proponent of 'the message should not be subsumed by the messenger', but street's point was that neither GG nor AOC are anti-capitalist, nor 'the left' (whatever that label implies these days).

i don't mind your arguing your points, but i did mind your having shat on my hopi snake dance memories. it was also the last one to which non-indigenous were invited. and that they'd caused it to rain during a dire and hopeless southwest drought was spiritually illuminating for me. that's all.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Oh yeah, and it seems as if Political Animal Press wants to publish it. Mid-year 2022 -- COVID slows everything down.

Anyway, what I suggest in my chapter on Marx is that the Marx utopia, in which people are not slaves to autonomous processes of "value" (controlled, naturally, by the rich), serves as a sort of "counter-prophesy" to those who forecast that capitalism will last forever. It's a directive -- if you don't want capitalism to last forever, you work for the utopian (counter)prophesy forecast by Marx.

Okay so "tax the rich." Sorry, AOC -- the government already does tax the rich, just not all of them and just not very much compared to what it could be taxing them, what it used to tax them. Your dress is not subversive.

"Proper Marxist education." How important is it? When you take Marxism as a whole, it's something of a mess. After Marx himself died in 1883, a civic religion was created so that it could be claimed that Marx had all of the answers and that some cheap substitutes could be had for stuff Marx wanted but which wasn't available -- one thinks here especially of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" which eventually became a dictatorship of intelligentsia running a political party.

There are some easy names to identify with this civic religion -- Friedrich Engels, Karl Kautsky, Gyorgy Plekhanov, Lenin, Stalin, Mao. There's a really good autopsy of it in Cornelius Castoriadis' essay "The Pulverisation of Marxism-Leninism" (in the collection World in Fragments) -- it's 12 pages long. Can't be too hard to read 12 pages, right?

One thing of note about all this is that the ideological foundations of the civic religion around Marx were cobbled together from what of Marx had been published at the time he died. The Grundrisse, that masterwork of what Marx really wanted scribbled in notebooks in the late 1850s before all of the full majesty of later-in-life Marx, was only published in 1939, long after the civic religion was installed in power and long after Stalin had its children devoured through the Soviet state apparatus. The Paris Manuscripts, with their very important critiques of the alienation of labor, were published in 1932.

The civic religion around Marx needs to die if Marxism is to live. The ultimate outcome of that civic religion in the West was in that fateful year when Gorbachev tried to replace the Leninist managerial state with a Swedish-style social democracy and was soon thereafter ousted from power. Its ultimate outcome in the East -- well, who knows, but for sure "value" runs people's lives in China and Vietnam today.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

i'll read your comment again tomorrow morning when i'm not exhausted from a long day in RL and being online more than is good for my health.

peace to you, and to all of us.

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wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

found a publisher for your upcoming book! as has been true before, your academic heft is far larger than my on, esp. now that more grey cells have rattled out of my brain. it may be true that i should quit blogging, but i'm not inclined to yet. ; )

your final two paragraphs seem to be the heart of your comment, and i'll read them over just in case they may make it into an image i can recall later. after my first brain damage, i tended to remember images, not names, not words.

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CB's picture

@Cassiodorus
"government of the people, by the people, for the people" has become in reality.

one thinks here especially of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" which eventually became a dictatorship of intelligentsia running a political party

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Cassiodorus's picture

@CB The Chinese censor theirs. We keep our public sphere well-polluted with nonsense.

As for what Marx really wanted, I should reference Peter Hudis' book "Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism." It's got some really first-rate scholarship.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg